Jia: a Novel of North Korea by Hyejin Kim

Jia: a Novel of North Korea

Hyejin Kim

Intelligence, decency, even good looks and talent count for very little in modern North Korea unless you are accepted as part of the ruling elite. An understated look at life for the vast majority both in their home country and as refugees in China. Highly recommended unless you can't do without a happy ending.

Extract

'Jia, who lives in mines and isolated mountain villages? Trash, reactionary elements. Everybody knows we don't need these people in this society. We're just going there to throw trash away.'
...

I wasn't able to defend them, having left the mountain myself and hidden my early life, but looking at Seunggyu's contemptuous profile, I was reminded of my maternal grandfather. 'Don't say that. They're still human, they feel happiness and sadness like you do. How do you know what they think? Have you ever talked with them sincerely?' I was indignant.

Parallels
  • Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
  • Till Morning Comes by Han Suyin

Books with similar mood

A History of Loneliness

John Boyne

Mercy Among the Children

David Adams Richards

Death Is Hard Work

Khaled Khalifa

Walking Wounded

Sheila Llewellyn

Unfeeling

Ian Holding

Notice

Heather Lewis

Leila

Prayaag Akbar

Captain of the Steppe

Oleg Pavlov

Fault Lines

Nancy Huston

Hellfire

Mia Gallagher

The Ministry of Pain

Dubravka Ugresic

This Blinding Absence of Light

Tahar Ben Jelloun

Collaborator

Murray Davies

Spies

Michael Frayn

Requiem for the East

Andrei Makine

A History of Forgetting

Caroline Adderson

Go, Went, Gone

Jenny Erpenbeck

Noon

Aatish Taseer

The Hanging Shed

Gordon Ferris

What Will Survive

Joan Smith

The Attack

Yasmina Khadra

Assorted Fire Events

David Means

Mush

Kathleen Bryson

The Deposition of Father McGreevy

Brian O'Doherty

Exquisite Corpse

Poppy Z Brite

Autofiction

Hitomi Kanehara

The Wake

Paul Kingsnorth

Slip of a Fish

Amy Arnold

Anatomy of a Soldier

Harry Parker

Dalila

Jason Donald

Eve Out of Her Ruins

Ananda Devi

Dirty Work

Gabriel Weston

The Burden of the Desert

Justin Huggler

Purge

Sofi Oksanen

After the Fire, a Still Small Voice

Evie Wyld

The Wilderness

Samantha Harvey

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Lionel Shriver

Star of the North

D B John

Anna

Niccolò Ammaniti

I Refuse

Per Petterson

NOD

Adrian Barnes

Devotion

Nell Leyshon

Gate of the Sun

Elias Khoury

A Thread of Grace

Mary Doria Russell

The Ninth Life of Louis Drax

Liz Jensen

Eagles and Angels

Juli Zeh

Affinity

Sarah Waters

Sunshine

Melissa Lee-Houghton

Merciless Gods

Christos Tsiolkas